But thanks to graduate student Julian Melchiorri, long-term space travel could soon be a reality. Melchiorri worked with Dezeen and MINI Frontiers to produce the Silk Leaf, an invention capable of sustaining life.
The Silk Leaf is a synthetic biological leaf that will absorb water and carbon dioxide and produce oxygen similar to the way a plant does. It was developed through Melchiorri’s Design Engineering course in collaboration with the Tufts University silk lab.
“I extracted chloroplasts from plant cells and placed them inside this silk protein. As an outcome I have the first photosynthetic material that is living and breathing as a leaf does,” Melchiorri said.
The designer notes that he was inspired from the beginning to build off of nature’s own system and take advantage of a proven method.
Synthetic, man-made leaves could be the solution to creating oxygen in environments where plants won’t grow. LIKE SPACE!
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